Monthly Archives: September 2011

It’s a Blessing…

Once couples who’ve battled infertility reach the goal of parenthood – whether by conception or adoption – it’s tempting for retroactive amnesia to take hold.  Who wants to remember the heartache of the journey?  Why would anyone hold on to memories of loss, grief and suffering?  After all, given the time, money and effort it took to become a family, why do anything but enjoy it?

Because it’s not just about you.

Everything God does has a purpose.  Every difficulty He allows into your life is for a reason.  And very often, His reason extends beyond the impact of this journey on you and your faith life.  He also intends to use your experience, and its life-changing effect on you, to bless others.

As scripture says…

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

The temptation to focus on a hope-filled future, while intentionally forgetting the faith-challenging past, is just that:  a temptation.  It is a common one, a completely understandable one, and one you should resist.

Why?

Because part of our calling is to be the body of Christ for one another.  “…To comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive.”  The infertility journey doesn’t end with parenthood.  Instead, we graduate to the next stage of the journey – one in which God calls us to set aside our former need for privacy (secrecy?) and openly witness to God’s goodness and faithfulness in order to give hope to those making the journey behind us.

Kristi and her husband, Carlos, kept his male factor infertility a secret from their family and friends.  But they confided in me, asking that I pray for their decision-making process, and for peace in the midst of uncertainty about the outcome of their journey.  [For more on their story, click this link].

Recently, Kristi got a call from a close friend who confessed that she and her husband were struggling with infertility.  In a split second, Kristi had a decision to make:  should she protect her privacy and the perception of an effortless conception, or should she share her story?  Kristi felt God nudging her to tell the truth.  She did.  She also talked about Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples, and about this blog.  “It was a spiritual lifeline for me,” she assured her friend.

Kristi’s friend hung up, immediately ordered a copy of the book and went online to read recent posts.  She called Kristi back in less than thirty minutes, and “we cried together over how good God is, and how everything happens in His perfect timing.”

Kristi shared this story with me so I would know how much the book and blog helped her — and by extension, her friend.  I pointed out that Kristi’s now taken on the role I played during her journey — of comforter, encourager, faithful witness, and Spirit-filled friend.

You can do that, too.

Do you know someone who’s struggling to find hope in the midst of the infertility journey?  If you’ve become a parent, share your story.  If you’re still making your own journey, it’s not too soon to help someone else.  Pass on your copy of Pregnant With Hope.  Send a link to this blog with a verse of comfort.  Risk exposing your need for God’s help and allow Him to use you to deliver a message of hope.

You will experience the joy that proves the axiom “It is a blessing to be a blessing.”

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Filed under Blessings, Hope, Speaking Up

Searching for Answers: Male Factor Infertility

A woman wrote to me recently asking for scripture-based wisdom on dealing with male factor infertility.

Expressing both frustration and anxiety about the lack of answers, information and guidance for Christian couples facing this problem, she said, “There is no [Bible-based] paradigm to study.  As far as I can remember, every case of infertility other than Elisabeth’s and Zechariah’s shows evidence of originating with the woman.  Male factor infertility spawns a set of questions quite different from ‘ordinary’ female infertility.

“For example:  Does God not acknowledge my infertility because it is my husband’s ‘problem’?  What solace can I take from Scripture since my circumstance is not mentioned?  How can I get the help I need when doctors keep putting us through IVF cycles without proper diagnosis beforehand?  How do verses such as ‘He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children’ pertain when I am not, in fact, ‘barren’?  And how should a fertile woman married to an infertile man curb herself so that she does not unintentionally undermine his masculinity?”

That’s a lot of questions, but Christ has promised, “Seek and ye shall find.”  So, let’s try to tackle them one at a time….

1) Where can I look for a Bible-based paradigm?  It depends on what constitutes a paradigm for you.  Are you looking for the story of a man accurately diagnosed as having male factor infertility who goes on to father a child after God intervenes?  That story is not in scripture.  There are, however, several stories of childless men becoming fathers extremely late in life (when, we can safely assume, infertility was statistically likely).

Recent research shows that volume, motility and structure of sperm all decline with age; meanwhile the odds of fathering a baby with Down syndrome or schizophrenia increase dramatically.  So, overlay that state-of-the-art medical knowledge onto Bible stories of late life fatherhood, and a paradigm does begin to emerge…

Statistics don’t matter when God is fulfilling a promise.  His purpose and timing supersede all universal “laws” as we understand them.  No doctor ever has the final word.  Only God does.

2) Does God not acknowledge my infertility because it is my husband’s problem?  Of course He does!  We are told, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Therefore, infertility is not “his” problem; it is your burden to share.  It is a challenge God has allowed you to face – together — which, like all things, will lead to His best for you if you trust and obey Him.  That is what scripture teaches.

So, pray for your husband, and ask him to pray for you – very specifically naming your respective needs:  patience, endurance, longsuffering, joy, insight, perseverance, trust, peace, hope, etc.  Work together to prevent “his” problem — and the many challenges of the infertility journey — from driving a wedge into your relationship, and threatening to separate the “two become one.”  This proactive response to your struggle will strengthen your partnership in anticipation of the child God has in mind for you.

3) What solace can I take from scripture since my circumstance is not mentioned?  Plenty.  For example, this morning, I happened to be reading Isaiah 37-38.  In it, Isaiah describes two key events during Hezekiah’s reign.  In both of them, this God-honoring king found himself humbled by (feelings of) impotence in the face of circumstances beyond his control.

In both cases, he turned humbly to God, praying for Him to “hear… see… listen… remember…” and honor Hezekiah’s faith and trust with divine intervention.

In both cases, God did the impossible; He wiped out the enemy and blessed Hezekiah in the process.  The same can happen for us when we honor God, acknowledge our limitations, and turn to Him for help and hope.

4) How can I get the help I need when doctors keep putting us through IVF cycles without proper diagnosis beforehand?  As a doctor’s kid and a doctor’s wife, I’d say, “Start by saying, ‘No.'”  No, I will not undergo a procedure that is not preceded by a clear understanding of the problem.  No, I will not spend money on doctors who do not respond energetically to my need for help/answers/information.  And no, I will not blame others for my feelings of powerlessness if/when I fail to take responsibility for my choices.

Beyond that, I’d look to God for discernment.  Ask Him to keep His promises – to comfort you, to guide your steps, and to show you the way.  He has promised to draw near to you when you draw near to Him… so draw near, and ask Him to help you in ways that will further His will for you (which is His best).

5) How do verses such as ‘He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children’ pertain when I am not, in fact, ‘barren’?  In the most literal sense, this verse is not speaking to you if you’re not barren (meaning unable to conceive due to female infertility).  However, this verse does pertain to your circumstances in the following ways:  (1) It demonstrates God’s concern for the infertile, and (2) It demonstrates God’s willingness and ability to make possible what seems impossible to those who face infertility.

If you’d like to spend more time digging into this verse and its meaning for infertile couples, read this post.

6) How should a fertile woman married to an infertile man avoid unintentionally undermining his masculinity?  Great question, and one that is virtually never discussed publicly.  Why?  According to Peter Schlegel MD, Urologist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/ Weill Cornell Medical Center and president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, “The role of the male in infertility has been grossly overlooked by lay[people] and professionals alike.”  Ditto for the pulpit.

No one EVER talks openly about male infertility… except when they feel safe.  That’s the purpose of PregnantWithHope groups.  They provide a haven for couples to share their struggles, fears and concerns openly – without fear of ridicule, criticism or emasculating pity.

Is it difficult for you or your husband to find a PregnantWithHope group near you?  You could start one (find information on How To at PregnantWithHope.com).  Or, you could have your support group of two, using Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples as your resource and discussion guide.  The book walks infertile couples through ten stages of the journey, and also gives readers a chance to “meet” ten couples who made the same journey and are now parents.  Their stories could give you great insight into how spouses can help one another, as well as how important it is to give grace when we fail to meet each other’s needs.

Does that help?  I know it doesn’t answer every question she had completely.  Nor, I’ll bet, does this post answer every question of yours.  Is there something specific you’d like me to address or explore further?  Email me at susan@pregnantwithhope.com and I’ll do my best to offer you cause for hope rooted in God’s word.

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Filed under Battles, Hope, Perspective

Where to Draw the Line

A reader posted a comment today asking me to address the question of how to know when — and presumably where — to draw the line in the pursuit of a diagnosis that can lead to effective treatment and, ultimately, parenthood.

She wrote…

 “I am not searching for information in an obsessive desire to gain control. We need the right diagnosis before we pursue treatment. Don’t we?  I appreciate where you are coming from, but I also wonder if it is misleading to some to imply that we must leave everything — even practical considerations for which we have human responsibility — up to God.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this, as this issue troubles me.  ‘Leave it all up to God’ can be taken too far….”

It’s a great question and a troubling issue for many infertile couples.  Let me address it by sharing a story about my Dad.

My father was an oncologist who treated patients with rare and deadly forms of cancer.  Because he spent years doing cancer research, and because he was a determined perfectionist, he made it his business to know every possible avenue from their sickness to health.  And, he promised to do everything he could to help them reach the desired outcome.

Occasionally, a patient would respond to the recommended treatment with horror — So painful! So taxing!  So prolonged! — and state confidently:  “God is going to perform a miracle and heal me.”  My father, the faith-full son of a minister, would respond:  “That would be great, and I’d love to witness it, but it’s possible that that isn’t God’s plan.”

Then, he’d tell them the story of a man trapped in his home during a flood.  As the flood waters rose, the man’s next door neighbor floated up to his front door in a two-man rowboat.  “Want to jump in?  We can paddle to dry land.”  The man waved him off saying, “No thanks.  God will save me.”  The floodwaters rose and the man was forced to climb up to his attic.  From this vantage point, he could see the water rising quickly over the town.  A local sheriff steered a motorboat toward the man’s attic window and called, “I’ll come get you!  It’s not too late to get to dry land a few miles away!”  The homeowner signaled no, calling out, “I’ll be fine.  God will save me.”

As the water continued to rise, the man was forced to climb out the attic window onto his roof.  All he could see for miles around was water.  No one else seemed to be standing on their rooftop waiting on God to perform a miracle.  A helicopter flew overhead and a voice boomed out of a loudspeaker, “This is your last chance!  We’re going to throw down a ladder!  Abandon your home!  Save yourself!”  The man responded, “I’m trusting God!  He can do anything!”  He waved off the helicopter, and the pilot flew away shaking his head.  The floodwaters continued to rise and the man finally drowned.

When he arrived in heaven, he asked God angrily, “Didn’t You see me on my roof?  I told everyone You’d perform a miracle.  Why didn’t You save me?!”  God answered with a sigh, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

The point my father was trying to make is that, although God is capable of performing miracles – and sometimes He does, He is also capable of intervening in our circumstances through others.  As Dad often said, “Medical miracles don’t happen every day; that’s why they call them miracles.”

Our unwillingness to avail ourselves of help from any source but God Himself is actually a decision to refuse His help — except on our terms, in ways that fit our sense of how the story should unfold.

So, can “leave it all up to God” be taken too far?

Clearly, yes.

Every once in a while, one of the patients who’d refused further treatment from my father, deciding instead to wait for a miracle, would die — just like the man who drowned on the roof of his house.  It broke his heart.  As he’d share the news with us, usually around a somber dinner table, he would remind us, “It was their choice.”  He would explain that adults sometimes insist that God act on their terms and their timetable, or else.  And they’d wind up with Or Else.

That can happen on the infertility journey, too.  Couples can insist that God help them conceive on their timetable with the treatment they’ve decided to pursue — or else.  Or else what?  Very often, or else they fail to become parents and their anger at God drives a wedge between them and the only One with the power to make anything possible.

Sometimes, patients who elected to pursue my Dad’s recommended treatment would reach a point in their illness when he’d need to say, “There’s not much more I can do for you.”  They would have entrusted themselves to his care believing God could and would act through him.  But, medical science would have reached its limits.  He would have failed to deliver the cure they’d both hoped for, and God would not have performed a miracle.

It was time to make the rest of the journey with an altered perspective.  He would ask them, “How do you want to spend the rest of your life, knowing that your time is limited?  What, and who, is most important to you?  You have the gift of knowing that these will be your last days/weeks/months.  How will you invest them?”  It was never an easy conversation, but it was a deeply spiritual one – and one that many family members tearfully thanked him for having, once the journey was over.

There’s a parallel here, too, to the infertility journey.  Sometimes, having pursued the course of treatment that we believe makes sense, having viewed the science of medicine as a gift from God, we find ourselves at the end of the well-travelled road.  Now what?  Where should we turn?  What should we do?  No one can tell us with certainty how our journey will unfold, if we choose to press on.  No one can guarantee where we’ll wind up, or if we’ll be glad for the choices we made.

No one but God.

He has traveled this far with us, and He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

It is this part of the journey than can be life-changing.  As we cry out to Him, “Why is this happening?!” we pour our effort into seeking answers to questions we’ve tried hard to avoid:  “What if our dream isn’t your plan, God?  What does that mean?  Why do other people conceive successfully while we struggle?  Why are you so often silent in the face of our tears and pleas?  Where are You?!”

Wrestling with these questions can lead us into a new, deeper intimacy with God.  If and when we trust the relationship enough to let go of our plans and, instead, gratefully embrace whatever God gives, He promises “all things [will] work together for good….”  Our story may look nothing like what we’d envisioned.  But it will be His purposeful, intentional, grace-filled best for us.  I have seen this happen countless times — in my own life, in the lives of Dad’s patients, and in the lives of infertile couples.

It can happen in your life, too.

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If you want to dig deeper into scripture, and into the stories of couples who’ve made this journey and agreed to share their first-hand accounts, I encourage you to read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.  You’ll find wisdom, comfort and hope.

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Transition Time

I’ve spent the last several weeks — maybe longer — trying to get a clear answer from God about whether to keep investing the time and effort required to write posts for this blog three times a week.  I realize it takes only a minute or two to read a post of mine.  But typically, it takes 2-3 hours to write one that will be worth reading.  That’s because I take this commitment very seriously.  If I’m going to talk to you in the midst of a journey as emotionally-charged and completely exhausting as infertility, I don’t want to waste your time.

You may be tempted to laugh when I tell you I haven’t been able to get an answer.  Sound familiar?  I’ve written quite a few posts on the silence of God.  Now, I guess, it’s time to remember my own advice.

I tried waiting.  That didn’t get a response.  Then, I waited some more.  Still nothing.  I tried asking for a sign.  No sign came.  I tried consulting people I think of as spiritual mentors.  Conflicting advice left me running in circles.  Finally, I consulted my friendly neighborhood psychiatrist (aka my husband).  His wise words did me a lot of good.  He said simply, “Maybe God’s letting you decide.”

Wow.  God trusts me to make a good decision?

All right then.  Here goes….

I’ve decided that writing 3x/week if I have nothing to say is pointless.  Forcing a message is the equivalent of expecting you listen to ME — because if I’m working hard to come up with something new to say, the Holy Spirit isn’t speaking through me (Trust me, I can tell my voice from His).

It may be that I’ve told you everything I’ve ever understood about how God works through infertility.  Or, maybe it’s time for me to spend a season at the feet of the One who loves to reveal Himself, so that I can bring you something new when I understand it more fully.

In any case, I’m making no promises about when or how often I’ll post from now on.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find help or hope!  There are literally hundreds of posts here for you to read.  Search them by categories or tags to meet a specific need, or just start reading and work your way forwards or backwards.  Print out whatever’s helpful — be it an entire post or a particular phrase — and keep that on your bedside table, share it with your doctor, or pass it on to a friend who’s making the same journey.

This blog is for you.  This library of promises and insights is a gift of the Spirit, who is with you always.  Use it to give you strength, courage, and cause for hope.

blessings always,

Susan

p.s.  If you haven’t already read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples, it will walk you through ten stages of the infertility journey — from hopeless despair to peace-full anticipation.   It will also allow you to hear ten couples’ first-hand narratives about their own passage through heartache to joy.  Read it, and find the inspiration to keep believing in the God who never fails those who trust Him.

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Filed under Hope, Humility, Perspective

Bitterness and Acceptance

A new subscriber to this blog writes about her infertility journey in EggsInARow.  In a recent post, she asked, “When does the bitterness go away and the acceptance come?”

That’s the kind of question that can cast a sudden pall over the room when couples gather to talk about infertility.  Why?  Because acceptance implies defeat, and no one wants to consider that possibility…. But everyone constantly does.  A few fearless souls do so publicly.  Some, like EggsInARow, ponder it anonymously.  Many, many more struggle in secret.

The deepest fear in every heart, though, is that acceptance of defeat may be the destination to which this road leads.  Childlessness.  Forever.  Is that the inevitable outcome?  If so, how do you know when it’s time to give up?  And if not, how do you keep hope alive?

The temptation, when we don’t know how the story will unfold, is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  To squint into the future and see what’s coming so that we’ll have time to brace ourselves if it’s bad, and to lean into joy if it’s good.  That sense of informed anticipation enables us to maintain the illusion of control when – deep down – this whole thing feels out-of-control.

Is that the best we can do?  Prepare ourselves to relinquish bitterness in favor of acceptance?  Then just wait for the inevitable?

Yes.

And, no.

Yes, it’s wise to relinquish bitterness.  Choosing to cling to it affirms a sense of being victimized, mistreated, and unfairly punished.  It fuels the self-pity that undermines hope.  It poisons the spirit and burdens the heart.  Intentionally or not, it encourages us to consider God a liar because it refuses to believe that “all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28).

What about acceptance?  Should we relinquish that, too?  Or embrace it?  Honestly, both.  We should relinquish the acceptance that is an expression of despair.  The voice that tells us, “There’s no hope.  You’ll never have a baby.”  That kind of acceptance trusts the lies of God’s enemy more than God Himself.

Remember:  God can do anything!  The fact that you cannot see or envision how He could make you a parent doesn’t mean you won’t be one.  The appearance of impossibility may be setting the stage for a miracle.  Or, it may be redirecting your path away from the way you imagined this unfolding to the path that leads to God’s best – for you, and for the child He already has planned for you.

So, don’t accept defeat.  Accept the fact that you are not in control.  And then decide:  will I see that as cause for despair, or cause for hope?  If you humbly acknowledge your need for God’s help and invite Him to guide your steps —  wherever that may lead — there’s definitely cause for hope.  If you put your energy into trusting, rather than controlling, you are headed for joyful good news.

It’s your choice.

Wait and see.

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For more inspiration and cause for hope, get a copy of Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples.

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Lessons from a Do-Over

I just spent six weeks recovering from major surgery.  In many ways, it was a surreal journey through familiar territory I had hoped to forget.

When our son was born prematurely, I lost a lot of blood during the delivery – so much that I (temporarily) lost my vision.  My brain was shutting down non-essential functions to try to save my life.  I heard the doctors yelling at my husband to get out of the OR, calling for bags of blood to transfuse me, and asking me how much pain I felt while prepping me for emergency surgery.

I couldn’t see anything, but I heard the urgency in their voices.  I kept asking, “What’s wrong?  Why can’t I see?  What’s happening?”  Instead of answers, they responded with frantic questions of their own:  “Can you feel this?  Does this hurt?  Can you see now?  What’s her pulse ox?  Where’s the blood?  Are we ready?”

Thankfully, the surgeons did their job well.  I survived — as did the baby who was born that day.  But, the doctors told me that, somewhere down the road, they’d need to do more surgery.  Their sole focus that day had been keeping me alive.  They hadn’t worried about future function, sensation or appearance.  So, at some point, they’d need to operate again – to repair some things, reconfigure some things, redo some things – in order to return my body to normal.

That’s the surgery I just had.

Here’s why it was such a gift….   It felt like a do-over.  Like a second chance to experience that day, but to do so mindful of God’s faithfulness.

Here’s what I mean.  Six weeks ago, I was waiting in pre-op for a nurse to put in multiple IV lines (my veins are tiny, so it frequently takes 4 or 5 sticks to get a line in).  I dreaded this part of the process and knew I had to keep myself calm.  I was cold and shivering – adrenaline, no doubt – and suddenly I remembered how cold I was that day in the delivery room, lying on the table unable to see.

I could feel fear rising in me, threatening to become panic.  So, I started humming “Peace Like a River” — like a little kid whistling in the dark.  And guess what?  It actually worked.  My shivering slowed and I could feel my body begin to relax.  Nurses hustled back and forth outside my pre-op room, but no one bothered to check on me.  No one came with needles and IV lines.  So, I kept humming.

I closed my eyes, trying to visualize peace like a river.  Soothing.  Flowing.  Making its way from the Source to me, and back again.  Then, love like an ocean.  Vast.  Powerful.  Endless.  And joy like a fountain.  Constantly overflowing.  I hummed, and hummed, and hummed some more.

Gradually, my effort to calm myself became an impromptu worship service.  Tears came to my eyes as I thanked God for walking with me through the darkest days of our journey (peace), for the lives of our children and the strength of our marriage (love), and our hope for the future (joy).

I could feel His presence and His delight in my gratitude.  I was headed for surgery, but all was well.  I could let go of fear and walk through this focused on His goodness and faithfulness.  And He would walk with me.

I won’t lie to you.  I threw up (repeatedly) when I came out of the anesthesia.  I didn’t meet the criteria for discharge, so they admitted me to the hospital.  My belly was as big as if I’d just delivered, and it took weeks before I could quit taking Motrin for pain.  But, I felt that peace wrapped around me like a blanket.

And now?  I’m fine.  And God is good.  What I had dreaded – and repeatedly postponed – turned out to be a reminder that I only need to invite God to be present in my struggles, and He will be.  Always.  Bringing peace, love and even joy to the journey.

Invite Him to do it for you, too.

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Filed under Blessings, Peace, Trust

When the Church Fails

Rightly or wrongly, many of us view ministers/pastors/priests/clergy (whatever you want to call them) as an embodiment of the church.  We unconsciously expect them to exhibit a Christlikeness that the rest of us only aspire to, and to do so – especially to do so – when life is hard, when our faith falters, and when doubt whispers to us, “Don’t believe.”

We look to these men and women to model the obstacle-surmounting faith we want and need to survive the journey through infertility.

But sometimes, the church fails.

My husband had an experience yesterday that reminded us both that even the best, most respected ministers can fall far short of our expectations.  They can momentarily lose sight of God’s will and purpose — and their responsibility to inspire us to follow their example.  When they do, they can profoundly disappoint us.  In response, we’re tempted to turn our backs on what feels like a sham.  A pretense.  An every Sunday dog and pony show that’s actually make-believe.

Of course, Satan loves when church leaders fail.  When they refuse to acknowledge their own limitations, doubts, struggles, shortcomings or uncertainties.  Why?  Because he knows “God opposes the proud” – and it’s pride that keeps clergy from admitting their imperfections.  Whether it’s because they want to maintain a mystique or fulfill unspoken expectations, their unwillingness to admit that they don’t always know how to minister to us cripples their ministry – and sometimes, our faith.

Many infertile couples leave the church as a result.

But here’s the thing to understand:  even when the church – through its leaders and its congregants – fails to be compassionate, honest, transparent or accountable, God doesn’t fail.   He hasn’t.  And He won’t.

The truth is, only Christ can be fully Christlike.  Only He has ever walked in faith at all times, and through all circumstances.  The rest of us?  Feet of clay.  As Scripture declares,  “[We] all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  We’re all imperfect – most especially, those of us who stand in the pulpit and preach Christlikeness while failing to walk the talk.

Is that hypocrisy frustrating for infertile couples?  You bet.  Alienating?  Definitely.  Unforgiveable?  No.  Why?  Because that’s the tension between who we all are and who God calls us to be.

It is journeys like the one through infertility that help us grow in faith — in the process, narrowing the gap between who we are and who we can be:  Stronger believers.  More humble, better equipped, growing in gratitude and increasingly ready to parent the children God has planned for us.

That’s one of infertility’s blessings-in-disguise.

So, remember:  Though the church may fail you, Christ never fails.  He has promised to comfort, strengthen, and guide you.  He has committed to pray for you, grieve with you, and give you hope.  He shows you through Scripture what is possible by faith in the God “through whom all things are possible.”  He never, ever fails.

Build your faith upon this rock.

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